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Lowland League: Spartans share the spoils with Gala
It was a share of the spoils at Ainslie Park as Spartans and Gala Fairydean Rovers fought out a 1-1 draw in the Ferrari Packaging Lowland League.
With a host of injuries and unavailability, gaffer Dougie Samuel rung the changes that saw Igor Gabiola and Craig Comrie make welcomed starts whilst a trio of Under 20s starlets in the shape of Cameron Dawson, Johnny Grotlin and Lewis Grant were drafted in on the bench.
The clocks were due to go forward later in the night however visitors to North Edinburgh would have been forgiven for thinking they’d already forwarded to summer as the blue sky and double digit temperatures made for a pleasant spectator experience at the footy.
Earlier matches in the season saw the sides record one win a piece and it was almost the same tally in goals in the opening stages as Billy Miller and Ross Allum exchanged opportunities in a valiant attempt to break the deadlock.
Paul Thomson’s sliced clearance midway through the half almost offered Jack Beesley’s mother an unwelcome early birthday present as the ball careered towards her spot in the stand however it was her own son who did put icing on the cake in the 31st minute.
Gabiola was unceremoniously clattered on the edge of the box to offer the deadball specialist the opportunity to test the Gala defence. He did so with lip-licking aplomb as his free-kick cleared the three-man wall who could only turn and watch the ball sail past the outstretched arm of Kieran Wright’s despairing dive.
HT: Spartans 1-1 Gala Fairydean Rovers
Four minutes after the restart, the tourists equalised courtesy of Darren Smith who capitalised from a cross lofted into the box.
Beesley was offered another opportunity from a free-kick in the same spot at the other end of the field following a challenge on Allum by Jason Krones that saw the Spartans man tumble to the astroturf. This time however there was to be no repeat of his earlier success as the ball cleared the bar.
Under 20s hitman Cameron Dawson made his senior debut after he replaced Paul Thomson and it was almost the most incredible to introductions as the striker came desperately close with a lob over Wright that tickled the crossbar.
Samuel made further changes as Spartans pressed to find the winner with Johnny Grotlin and David Greenhill coming on for Jack Beesley and Jamie Dishington as the game entered its final stages.
One final effort for the home side to earn three points came when a telling cross by Craig Stevenson was launched into the penalty area to find Dawson however the talented teenager just couldn’t get over the ball enough to direct home.
FT: Spartans 1-1 Gala Fairydean Rovers
Spartans: Carswell, Dishington (Greenhill), Maxwell, Thomson (Dawson), Tolmie, Stevenson, Beesley (Grotlin), Comrie, Allum, Gabiola, Townsley. Subs (Not Used) Saunderson, Grant, Gilpin.